Organized Panel Session
In recent years, eighteenth-century Philippine history has been reassessed. While Spain’s global power was waning, the archipelago itself was far from a stagnant backwater, and its commercial, religious, and administrative institutions were composed of assemblages of the local, regional, and global. This panel features new research that helps us to reassess the dynamism and complexity of the eighteenth-century Philippines.
The panel begins with two papers treating the archipelago’s heterogeneity in the eighteenth-century. The first shows that a small but significant number of church structures and the art that adorned them were the products of native and mestizo design and artistry, reflecting the composition of church personnel. The second shows how the Spanish colonial state rethought its approach to its sangley (Chinese) residents, forcing their expulsion from the islands as well as resettlement to Manila from elsewhere in Luzon and the Visayas, yet integrating Chinese mestizos into the Spanish empire. The panel concludes with two papers that treat regional Philippine trade connections and transformations of the late eighteenth-century. One treats a Spanish diplomatic and commercial mission from Manila to India, exploring each parties’ efforts to deal with shifting regional and global trade patterns, while the other treats the reorganization of Spanish trade in Canton in the wake of Bourbon reforms and the emergence of a plantation economy in the Philippines.
The panel’s papers illustrate several interconnected realities that composed the eighteenth-century Philippines, from the local, regional and global perspectives, highlighting local and regional actors in the profound transformations of the century.